Category Archives: skirts

Belcarra blouse & Cascade skirt

Belcarra blouse:

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

Pattern: Belcarra Blouse by Sewaholic
Fabric: Cotton/Silk blend from Fabricland
Size: 6 (see notes below)
Modifications: french seams, narrow 1/4″ hem, shortened neckline binding by 2 cm

I was so excited about this pattern when Tasia first announced it that I built my spring wardrobe plans around it. I love how light and airy it is, and how it manages to look casual and dressy at the same time. So versatile. It really is the missing piece in my wardrobe. I have so many orphan skirts in my closet that I never wear because I have nothing to go with them. Now I do!

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

I pretty much just sewed this one up as is with two minor modifications. The pattern suggests a 1 1/2″ hem, which I did at first, but it looked stiff and weird with my sheer fabric, and I had a hard time easing in the extra fabric (I’m so bad at that!), so I ripped it out and did a 1/4″ hem (folded up 1/4″ twice). I think it looks a lot better with the sheer, floaty fabric I used. I’ll probably mostly wear it tucked in anyway, but I like to know I have the option of wearing it untucked.

The other change was to shorten the neckline binding by 2 cm. Again, I was having a hard time easing in the fabric, so I just chopped off the excess and treated it like bias binding. Next time I think I will just use bias binding and trim the neckline seam allowances to 1/4″ since I think the large seam allowance was what gave me trouble.

Normally with Sewaholic patterns I cut a size 6 on top and grade to a 0 in the waist and hips (since I’m not pear-shaped), but this time I decided to cut a straight 6 because I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get it over my broad shoulders. I’m glad I did because I don’t think any smaller would be comfortable to put on. But I think there might be a bit too much fabric around the hips, so I might grade the next one just at the hips and leave the waist at a 6. I can’t decide if the extra volume at the hips looks weird or visually balances out my shoulders. What do you think? Honest opinions, please! I plan on making a lot of these, so I want to get it right.

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

I did french seams throughout, but attaching the sleeve cuffs was a bit tricky to do with all of the angles. I think it worked out reasonably well in the end.

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

Cascade skirt:

Megan Nielsen Cascade Skirt

Pattern: Cascade skirt by Megan Nielsen
Fabric: 100% cotton voile (Valori Wells Cocoon Shine in aqua)
Size: XS
Modifications: moved the button hole to the side seam

This one is also going to be a wardrobe staple for me. It’s the perfect summer skirt for going to the beach in. The smallest size is still 1.5″ too big for me, but I figured it wouldn’t really make a difference since it’s a wrap skirt. I just moved the buttonhole over to the side seam, and the fit is great.

This is my first time using a Megan Nielsen pattern, and I have to say, I love it! I got one of the last paper patterns, which is sad because they come with a cute little booklet, and the patterns are printed on sturdy paper, so they’re great for remakes. Unfortunately, since PDFs drive me crazy (how do you store a mass of taped up sheets?!) and since I don’t quite make their size chart, I probably won’t be making many more, but I will be making lots of this pattern!

The only thing I don’t like about this skirt is how it looks stiff and awkward at the back. I think it’s because of the fabric. I was so excited when the quilting cotton makers started manufacturing lighter weight fabrics because I thought they would be perfect for clothing, but I don’t think they quite work for the flowy, drapey styles I like. Even the organic ones have a crispness that doesn’t work for certain styles. I just spent all day yesterday making a gathered maxi skirt out of Cloud 9’s Palos Verdes voile and it was a total disaster. It looks ridiculous, and I will not be posting pictures! I think I may have to start sewing with silk and dyeing it myself…

Megan Nielsen Cascade Skirt

So stiff and awkward from the back

Megan Nielsen Cascade Skirt

Nice and drapey from the front

Field Study Hawthorn

I finally finished my Hawthorn for the sew-along! Between major fitting problems, family visiting, and irresistible beach weather, I just didn’t get much sewing done this month! I had three versions of the Hawthorn planned, including one made with the fabric I dyed (I was going to knit some lace details out of linen yarn for that one), but I only managed to finish this one.

Hawthorn Blouse and Skirt

I made two muslins, and this top is actually my third muslin, which is pretty much wearable, but far from perfect. I had to lengthen the top of the bodice by 3/4″ because the bust points were too high and the armscyes  were right up in my armpits! I had no idea how to do it properly, but I found  this tutorial, and just guessed my way through lengthening the collar to match the new bodice. This modification was actually not as hard as I thought it would be!

The other major problem was the bust. This pattern is drafted for a C or D cup (which I am definitely not!), so I knew I had to do an SBA (small bust adjustment). The problem is, my measurements match the size chart exactly, so I didn’t really have any width to pinch out as suggested in the Colette tutorial for an SBA. Plus, their tutorial also suggested to shorten the back to match the amount shortened in the front from the SBA, but the back was already too short on me, and the front was too long. I was totally lost.

I then questioned whether or not it was really necessary, but I figured all the extra length at the front must be there to accommodate a larger chest, which I don’t have, so I started pinning and basting, seam ripping, then pinning and basting all over again until I eventually gave up and decided it would have to be good enough. Basically, I ended up moving some of the width of the front darts to the side seams, so the overall measurements would stay the same, and then I chopped off some of the center front.

No matter what I did, I couldn’t get rid of those lines going from the bust to the side seams. Does anyone know how to fix that?

Hawthorn Blouse

Even worse from the front! I just found this post on the side effects of bust adjustments from Shona Stitches that perfectly captures the frustration I went through. There are even some links there for alternative ways to do bust adjustments that I will definitely try for my next version.

Hawthorn Blouse

I’m actually pretty happy with the fit at the back. I added another inch to the lower back to get the waistline to sit at my natural waist. Although, it looks kind of long in the photo and I’m not sure why!

Hawthorn Blouse

I used 100% cotton voile from Hart’s Fabrics and shell buttons for the blouse.

Hawthorn Blouse

For the skirt, I drafted a waistband (aka rectangle), and some belt loops (aka smaller rectangles). A real confidence-booster after the top!

Hawthorn Blouse and Skirt

I lined the waistband with some soft 100% organic cotton polka dot fabric from Eden Fabrics. The main fabric for the skirt is Parenthetical Flight Field Study Linen by Anna Maria Horner (55% linen, 45% cotton). I didn’t have enough fabric to do any print matching, but it wouldn’t have worked with the pleated pockets anyway. The small buttons are tagua nut, and the large ones are wood.

Hawthorn Skirt

I drafted patch pockets with a pleat and a button tab to top it off.  They don’t really stand out as much as I’d like. Maybe I should have used contrast stitching or piping or something.

Hawthorn Skirt

Overall, I still love the Hawthorn pattern, but I think I need to learn a lot more about fitting before I tackle my second version. But there will definitely be a second version, and probably a third!

P.S. You can check out other Hawthorns from the sew along and vote for your favourites here. I’m so thrilled to be included in the parade!

Raindrop Chardon

I fell in love with the Chardon skirt pattern the moment I saw it. It’s just so flattering and versatile. I had enough fabric left over from my Laurel dress to make a skirt, but not without a few modifications. I had to straighten the hem because of the border print anyway, but I also had to straighten the sides to get the pieces to fit on the fabric I had left. I’m happy with how it turned out, but I do think the unmodified pattern with more flare would have been much nicer.

Deer and Doe Chardon skirt

Pattern: Chardon by Deer & Doe
Fabric: Ombre Ikat Raindrops printed on Organic Cotton Sateen
Size: 34/36
Modifications: Straightened hem and sides to fit on fabric I had left

The top is “self-drafted” (i.e. guess and adjust) with a shelf bra. I made it at the beginning of May (it’s actually the only item I made in May!) – I’ll get around to blogging about that one eventually!

Deer and Doe Chardon skirt

I had some trouble with the instructions for putting on the belt loops. It didn’t say exactly how close to the top to put them. This was my first time doing belt loops, so I don’t know if that’s normal or not, but I decided to put them on last, after the facing, so I could see where they should be.

Deer and Doe Chardon skirt

I did regular hem instead of the bias trim because for some reason bias trim seems really intimidating! I’m going to have to get over that block soon.

Deer and Doe Chardon skirt

This is such a comfortable and wearable skirt! I will definitely be making more of these 🙂

Deer and Doe Chardon skirt

A Cozy Maxi Skirt

What could be cozier than a jersey maxi skirt? I have a closet full of “dressy” items, but I end up wearing ratty sweatpants all day since I work from home. They’re comfortable, they’re cozy, and they’re ugly. Enter the jersey maxi. As comfortable as sweatpants (comfier, in fact), but dressy enough to leave the house in without feeling like a total slob. Win-win! I plan to make a bunch more of these.

Organic Cotton Jersey Maxi Skirt Organic Cotton Jersey Maxi Skirt

Pattern: generally followed Megan Nielsen’s tutorial for a jersey maxi skirt

Fabric: 95% Organic Cotton, 5% Spandex from Dressew in Vancouver

This should have been the simplest project of all time, but it was way more difficult than the Tiramisu Dress just because of the fabric! I fought with this stuff the whole way through. It curled, it moved, it grew, and it rejected all forms of order. The hem still flips up. I started out trying to do a separate waistband with a gathered skirt, but the waistband grew by over 6″ as I sewed it! So I just kept it simple and tried to wrangle the fabric into submission. Oh well, it’s grey, so at least it will go with everything. Plus, it is super-soft and cozy.